As an inventor, artist, musician or business owner, you want to protect your original works and ideas. One of the ways you can accomplish this is by copyrighting your intellectual property.
According to the U.S. Copyright office, a copyright is a form of intellectual property that will protect original works for a certain period of time, and these works can range from illustrations and paintings to books, movies, plays and more. Once you copyright your work, others cannot use it without permission or claim it as their own.
When you create an original work and then copyright it, you become the owner of it as well as the author. However, other organizations, people and companies can own the copyright, too. Under the law of “works made for hire,” you can extend copyright ownership to others who have permission to use your work for different purposes.
Rights you receive with a copyright
If you own the copyright to a certain piece of work, you maintain the right to reproduce copies or derivatives of the work. You also have the right to distribute copies of your work to others and sell them for profit. Additionally, if it is a creative work, such as a play or musical, you have the right to perform it publicly.
How long your copyright protection will last depends on when you originally created the work. For example, if you created the work after January 1, 1978, your copyright protection will last for the duration of your life and extend for 70 years after you pass away.